Red Sox notes: Valentine, Doubront, Johnson, Ortiz

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Red Sox notes: Valentine, Doubront, Johnson, Ortiz

NEW YORK -- The Red Sox clubhouse has been predictably downcast the last few days, but Bobby Valentine said that, given the team's performance, that's probably as it should be.

"These guys are pros,'' said Valentine. "They're supposed to be down. When you lose, you're not supposed to be happy. I don't want anybody to think it's a good thing. From what I measured (Saturday), it seems like everyone's OK. I don't really take that temperature after every game, though.''

As for his own spirits, Valentine at first joked that he didn't.

"I keep them up,'' he said. "I enjoy what I'm doing. I think it's very challenging and fun.''

David Ortiz told the Boston Herald Friday that the controversies surrounding the Red Sox have had a tangible effect on the performance on some players, including Dustin Pedroia.

"It looks like (Pedroia) is playing the best he's played this year," Valentine said. "Maybe he got to a point where he just shut the whole thing off. It might have been bothering him more than a week ago, but I really think it was (some nagging injuries) that were bothering him.

"He's playing extremely well right now. He's an incredible player,period."

But Valentine did take himself to task, noting: "As far as my job here, I'm not doing a good job. I didn't get paid to do anything other than get to the playoffs, win a lot of games and be in the thick of things right down to the end or even be in first place. The team is managing is not there. Simpe. So my job has not been a good job, if I had to assess (myself).''

Before Saturday's game, the Sox placed pitcher Felix Doubront on the DL, retroactive to August tenth, with a right knee contusion. The Sox filled Doubront's roster spot by promoting Mauro Gomez from Pawtucket.

Doubront was shut down after making a start in Cleveland last week as the Red Sox expressed concern about his workload after
an injury-shortened 2011 season saw him limited to just 87 23 innings.

In the interm, Doubront was bothered by a sore knee as he threw on the side. The Sox believe he's progressed to the point where he could pitch at the end of next week, but in the meantime, the Sox could utilize his roster spot with Gomez, who is with the big league club for the third time this season.

"We'll see how we can use him,'' said Bobby Valentine of Gomez. "It's better than having a short bench. He's a guy who I think gives you really good at-bats when he's up there.''

Valentine added that Gomez, a first baseman by trade, could see some time at DH with David Ortiz still sidelined. He could also use Gomez at third base, with Will Middlebrooks out for the remainder of the season with a broken wrist.

Lowell Spinners lefthander Brian Johnson, a sandwich pick by the Red Sox this June out of the University of Florida, was struck in the face by a line drive while pitching at the Futures of Fenway doubleheader Saturday.

According to the Red Sox, Johnson suffered "multiple orbital'' fractures on the side of his face. He showed no evidence of suffering a concussion and was resting in a hospital.

David Ortiz, who was set to take batting practice Friday only to change those plans, hit in the cage Saturday before the game.

"He just did soft toss (Friday) in the cage,'' said Valentine, "and he felt fine. It seems that the progression (Saturday) would be BP.''

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

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Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.

Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.

Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.

Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.

Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.

Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.

Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.

Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

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Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.